We reviewed our experience in the diagnosis and management of esophageal achalasia in 33 children over a 25-year period at a single center by a retrospective chart review of all patients diagnosed with achalasia between December 1, 1975 and January 30, 2001. There were 33 cases ranging from 5 months to 16 years of age at the time of presentation (17 boys and 16 girls). Although dysphagia and vomiting were the commonest presenting symptoms, weight loss, chest pain, coughing, and recurrent pneumonia also occurred in many patients. Barium contrast study of the esophagus was the initial diagnostic modality followed by esophageal manometry. An upper endoscopy was also performed in 78.7% of cases. Management was predominantly surgical; however, seven recently diagnosed patients opted for botulinum toxin (botox) injection as the first line of treatment. The follow-up duration varied from 10 months to 10 years (mean 4.71 ± 3.2 years). Postsurgical complications included gastroesophageal reflux disease in five patients who had not received a simultaneous antireflux procedure and “residual achalasia” in two patients, who both responded to a single botox injection.
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